Thaicom cleared to launch $160m satellite

Dylan Bushell-Embling
31 May 2011

Thaicom has been given approval to launch the $160 million Thaicom 6 satellite in 2013, as it secured a significant new capacity deal in Malaysia.

Thailand's ICT ministry has finally signed off on the plan to deploy Thaicom 6 in Q2 2013.

Thaicom will be the sole investor in the new satellite, Reutersreported, which will have a capacity close to the operator's existing Thaicom 5.

Thaicom has been seeking permission for the project for the last two years.

The satellite will be designed with a minimum working life of around 15 years. But according to Reuters, the ICT ministry does not plan to extend its existing concession agreement with Thaicom after it expires in 2021.

Thaicom's CEO is not fazed, telling the Bangkok Post the remaining nine years on the concession should be enough to ensure the satellite breaks even.

But he also plans to raise the issue with new regulator NBTC once it finally takes over.

The concession agreement will see Thaicom share 17.5% of the satellite's revenues with the government – the same percentage as with Thaicom 6.

Thaicom separately announced it had signed a deal for the Malaysian payload of its Thaicom 4 satellite.

The company has granted a subsidiary of satellite provider Measat Global exclusive rights to provide capacity over the Thaicom 4, also known as IPStar, across Malaysia.

The agreement covers around 7% of the total capacity of the craft. Thaicom said the 1,894MHz bandwidth capacity is capable of providing 3.3Gbps of IP connectivity.

MEASAT will provide the capacity, which it will market as MEASAT-5, to existing and new telecom operators. It will primarily be used for mobile backhaul and the provision of services in places with little or no terrestrial infrastructure.

Thaicom subsidiary IPStar Australia, as well as SingTel subsidiary Optus, were earlier this month commissioned to provide the satellite capacity services for Australia's NBN project.

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